80 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2012
Over the years there have been quite a few Pokemon spin off games. Most felt like Nintendo was just squeezing this cash cow franchise and were mediocre at best. If you haven't grown tired of the "Gotta catch em all", which if your reading this review I'm guessing you haven't, you may enjoy this title. First off this game in Japan was called Pokemon+Nobunaga's Ambition and was developed by Koei. Many may not be familiar with the NES and SNES Nobunaga's Ambition games or other Koei titles. For those familiar with them, you will see some of those elements in this game. Now the gameplay itself is not at all your standard Pokemon. You do not walk around catching Pokemon with Pokeballs. You travel by clicking on different locations on the map. Also the battles are not turn based, they are more like Final Fantasy Tactics where you move around the battlefield. While this is a big change to the series, it is done in an easily accessible manner. This was meant to be an entry level strategy RPG. Fans of the series will be happy to know that Pokemon types still play a huge role in being effective in battle. Also gone is the XP leveling, it is replaced by "Bond". Bond is how well your Pokemon and warlord interact, and each warlord has a perfect Pokemon match you have to discover for best use. In each kingdom you can only have six warlords, so you have to manage where you leave them and you can set them to do different tasks. Also it seems Nobunaga is out trying to take over kingdoms as well so you have to make sure you have a decent force in kingdoms you conquer so you don't lose them. The goal of the game is to take over all 17 kingdoms so the legendary Pokemon that created the land will reveal himself. After playing about 5 hours I would say the system works quite well. The battles are fun and most only take several minutes or less to complete. That said if you are a huge Pokemon fan or even if your just a strategy RPG fan this game is definitely worth a try.
117 of 143 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2012
The other reviews have already covered the general idea behind this game, so I won't recap them here again. Suffice it to say that I enjoy the Tactics style of strategy RPGs, and I enjoy Pokemon, so this game was the best of both worlds for me, right up until I beat the main story.
I feel compelled to give others the warning I did not get. Once you beat the main story line, the after-game is a great many "Episodes" that can be pretty short to almost as long as the original game itself. Taken together, they make up more playtime than the main game does. Sounds great, doesn't it? There is one problem, each episode is an entirely self contained side-game. You do not get to use the team you spent the entire main game building up. You use whatever character the game says you use for that episode, and all of their link percentages are reset to whatever level the episode says it should be at. There is no New Game +, and there is no way to get back to the main "all of the castles" map once you finish the main story. It effectively takes all of the work you put into it and throws it away.
Someone would be quick to point out though that when you recruit someone in an episode, they automatically get whatever pokemon (and its evolutionary state) that they had in the main game. On the surface, this sounds like "Oh, well at least all the effort I put into the main game wasn't entirely wasted, I do at least get the pokemon back". I would like to warn you that it is more of a handicap than a help. If you are like me, you recruited every warrior you could find at the start of the game, but stopped after you got a whole team full of warlords with perfect link pokemon. This means you had/have a bunch of generic warriors with whatever weak pokemon you had at the start of the game sitting in castles filling space to make you gold by the end of the game. Why is this a problem? Many of the episodes let you fight warriors with powerful pokemon you didn't have access to in the main game. When you recruit them, the game will automatically overwrite whatever powerful pokemon they have now with whatever weak one they had in the main game. Having trouble progressing, and you see someone with a munchlax, or a deino, or a bedlam with strong attacks and lots of hitpoints that you want to recruit? Not so fast, you recruited him already in the main game, and he had a whooper there. Congratulations, your new recruit now has a whooper too instead of the good pokemon you wanted, and there is absolutely no way to prevent it from overwriting him. You also cannot access your main game anymore to try and stock them up with more useable pokemon to use in the episodes. You are forever locked with whatever junk you left them rotting in the castle with.
The game really is fun. And I am sure there will be people that love the after-game episodes, but I am not one of them. I feel like I put time and effort into building my team and their link percentages only to have it basically erased without my consent. The carrot for those episodes is to recruit new warlords and get legendaries for the ones you had, like Mewtwo and Groudon. The only problem is that once you get those legendaries, the episode ends, and you don't get to use them again. What is the point of having all of these legendaries and warlord transformations when the chances are you will never actually get to use any of them?
Its not a reward unless I get to USE THEM. As is, all it does is add an entry in what amounts to your pokedex. Big whooping deal.
Bottom line, the game is great. The mechanics are great. Just do not finish that last battle, or you will simply be throwing all of your effort in the trash. Or if you do finish it, at least be warned up front to go through and give every last junk warrior in all of your castles really excellent pokemon, because that will make or break your after-game episodes and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it after you get there but erase your game and start over from scratch.
So, 5 stars for the main story, 1 star for everything after that, average out to 3 stars for me.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Let's get this out of the way: I love SRPGs, and I love Pokemon. I went into this game knowing that I would probably enjoy it greatly. As expected, I did- however, not for the reasons I expected to. Pokemon Conquest isn't like most SRPGs, as there is very little to manage as far as your individual units go and the combat is fairly shallow (each Pokemon has only one attack). However, the game manages to be insanely fun despite these 'shortcomings'. In battle, one actually has to think about unit placement before moving and one must also pay attention to the enemy units' positioning and what range their attacks have. Types are just as important, if not more-so, than in the core Pokemon games. A single Pokemon with a type advantage over several of the opponents' could be the difference between winning and losing a match.
Also very interesting is the fact that each kingdom you take contains multiple facilities in which one can do battle, change abilities, shop, and more. Each kingdom can also house multiple units, who will train or work the land until they are invaded by another kingdom or told to stop by the player. Speaking of units, there is a very large number of Pokemon and Warriors/Warlords to collect- around 200 Pokemon are available, and around 200 Warriors/Warlords as well. They can be mixed and matched to produce various teams with special abilities in order to build the exact army that you want.
There isn't much in the game by way of story, but the characters are entertaining (especially if you are a fan of shows such as Sengoku Basara) and the art is beautiful. The main storyline can be beaten in ten to fifteen hours, assuming you stop to grind every now and then; if you were to plow right through the story, I would guess that one could pull it off in less than ten. There is a large amount of post-game content, however, which involves playing through a short story starring one of the many Warlords found in the game.
Pokemon Conquest is a rare breed: a game that manages to be both accessible to casual audiences and to have the depth that a more hardcore gamer craves. I was put off by how simple the combat was at first, but quickly grew to love it as environmental hazards and my positioning on maps began to play more of a role. The game is nothing less than brilliant in how well it works.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2012
Although avid Pokemon fans awaiting a 3DS installment (or simply one with 3D models instead of 2D sprites) may have to swallow their disappointment for a bit longer, we have on our hands a truly delightful spinoff to tide us over for the time being. Pokemon Conquest (a Nintendo DS game, playable in 2D on the 3DS, as Nintendo likes to remind everyone) is a highly addictive, deeply strategic RPG modeled closely after the chess-like gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics. It features a storyline that blends Pokemon-themed fantasy with real-life historical figures from the Sengoku period of feudal Japan (two concepts one wouldn't ordinarily think to mash together). Startlingly, it works very well, and shapes into what is easily the best Pokemon spinoff ever.
You begin the game as an aspiring warrior in the land of Ransei, in which there is a legend of a warlord capable of summoning the legendary Pokemon that created the region by conquering and claiming all 17 of its kingdoms. Throughout this land, each warrior and warlord has the ability to communicate with Pokemon and engage them in battle, but only the Pokemon they have the highest compatibility ("link") with can best serve them in combat. The storyline borrows elements from Koei's Nobunaga's Ambition series (Koei also played a role in the game's development) and peppers them with the collectability factor and addictive battle mechanics of the Pokemon franchise. As you may guess from the storyline, your primary goal is to engage in a series of battles against various kingdoms in an effort to awaken the mysterious creationist Pokemon before the ruthless warlord Nobunaga (the game's primary antagonist, based off of real-life Oda Nobunaga, a major daimyo in the late 16th century) beats you to it.
The combat system is turn-based, like many traditional RPGs, and like the aforementioned Final Fantasy Tactics, you'll spend each turn advancing a certain number of spaces throughout the stage, and must be within range of an opponent in order to inflict damage with attacks. Different Pokemon have different attack and movement ranges, so you'll have to keep this in mind as you progress, since you'll want to advance toward your opponents without leaving yourself within their line of fire whenever possible. Fans of JRPGs such as Fire Emblem and old-school Final Fantasy titles will be fondly familiar with these mechanics, and like those games, battles in Pokemon Conquest can feel a great deal like thoughtfully planned out bouts of chess. Although these types of games can ordinarily turn off gamers who aren't into intense strategy, Pokemon Conquest impressively manages to coax newbies into easily understanding the mechanics all while building upon its array of thoughtful complexity and creative nuances. I myself was largely unfamiliar with this type of battle system and was notably doubtful as to how much I'd enjoy it, but after playing for hours and gaining much deeper understanding, I can wholeheartedly say I'm hooked.
For Pokemaniacs, most of the beloved gameplay elements are retained-there are still type weaknesses and strengths (Fire types still take extra damage from Water type attacks, and so forth), which you'll of course have to consider before sending your team into battle, in addition to character-specific abilities which activate in various scenarios and can be highly useful in specific situations. What adds a nice bit of zest to this is that in addition to the Pokemon having abilities, each warrior (trainer) has his or her own ability as well, which can be used only once per match. This is once again something worth considering in regard to which Pokemon you partner them up with and what teams you place them on, as abilities that increase defense, heal HP or cure status ailments may of course be better suited to certain teams and scenarios than others. You can also once again use items like Potions to heal HP or elemental stones to evolve (yes, Pokemon do evolve in this game, for those wondering). Additionally, warriors themselves evolve ("transform," more accurately) once they've gained strong enough partner links, causing their own abilities and team capacities to improve as well. When Pokemon are a part of a winning battle, and particularly when they land finishing blows to opponents, they don't gain experience points but instead strengthen their link with their trainer, and as their link grows, so does their strength and likelihood of evolving. As previously mentioned, warriors have differing links with different Pokemon, and you'll ideally want to track down the Pokemon that your trainers have 100% (maximum) compatibility with. Pokemon with lower compatibilities can still become powerful, but their strength will max out earlier than desired (a 70% compatibility Quagsire, for example, will stop gaining strength once its trainer link reaches 70, as where one with full compatibility could have continued growing).
Therein lies Pokemon's famous collectability; upon defeating each kingdom, you'll have the option of recruiting certain warriors whose Pokemon you defeated from there (the criteria for recruitment varies, as you may have to defeat certain warriors within an allotted number of turns or fulfill other requirements in order for them to become available to recruit). Each warrior may only be partnered with one Pokemon at a time in-battle, but you can add to their arsenal and switch around which one you'd like them to use (although different warriors have different team capacities, so you may have to let the less compatible ones go eventually). Some warriors are lucky enough to already have a highly compatible Pokemon by their side immediately upon recruitment, but you'll have to seek out something better for most of them. Once a kingdom is conquered, wild Pokemon (in addition to new warriors, or those you may have missed out on recruiting the first time around) will begin appearing inside. These instances will be your primary opportunities to seek out perfect matches for your warriors; a wild Pokemon's compatibility with a warrior will be displayed over their head in battle in the form of a medal; bronze indicates a low compatibility, silver equates to average, and a gold medal means the Pokemon is a great match for that warrior and is capable of a 100% link. You can link warriors with new wild Pokemon by approaching them and choosing the `Link' option, at which point you'll begin a DDR-styled mini-game in which you must press buttons at specific moments to strengthen the link. If you're successful, that Pokemon will belong to that warrior once the battle ends. You'll be able to tell which types of Pokemon to keep an eye out for based on each warrior's elemental specialty, listed in their menu profile; certain warriors favor Electric or Grass types, as where others may specialize in both Ghost and Fire. This doesn't necessarily mean every Pokemon of that type will be a perfect match for them, however, so you'll simply have to explore and experiment (i.e. pay attention to those medals)-trust me when I say 100% links are worth seeking out, because Pokemon with maxed out compatibilities become superbly powerful.
One of the greatest aspects of Pokemon Conquest's battles are their complexity-an ugly word to some gamers, but hear me out: when I say complexity, I mean the vast array of options you have to perform exciting setups, traps and defensive efforts out on the battlefield. Although certain elements of the gameplay may actually initially come off as simplistic, these in reality all come together as a beautifully cohesive whole to make for some of the most addictive, thought-provoking strategy ever presented in a Pokemon spinoff, and arguably any Pokemon game period. While in combat, you'll have to consider your opponent's types in addition to their positions on the field, since if Pokemon are attacked by an opponent they're facing away from, they take additional damage. Certain Pokemon abilities, meanwhile, must also be considered from a positional angle, since Jigglypuff's Lullaby ability can put nearby Pokemon to sleep, while Pansage's Melee ability causes adjacent opponents to randomly take damage. Because of this, you may want to use ranged attacks against specific opponents, or attack/approach them from an angle they may have difficulty retaliating from. Some Pokemon even have attack ranges that could endanger allies, so for example you'll definitely want to keep your Flying types out of your Electric type's potentially wide line of fire.
Adding to all this variety is that not all battles have the same goal; although defeating opponents is never a bad thing, each match has a limited number of turns, during which time you must complete the required goal. You'll sometimes have to claim banners throughout the stage to win, something you must accomplish before your opponent does first. This essentially makes for a Pokemon-ified version of capture the flag in which you must protect your own banners while seizing those your opponent has claimed as quickly as you can. There are also different stage hazards in different kingdoms, although they thankfully aren't wildly unpredictable catalysts for random or unfair chaos. No, Pokemon Conquest's stage hazards tie thematically into everything else presented here by being strategy-based first and foremost; one kingdom, for example, features a series of enormous balls placed throughout the field that can be attacked to send them bouncing down that entire row of spaces, doing substantial damage to any Pokemon in its path. Another kingdom, meanwhile, has trenches that can be filled with (or drained of) water each time a nearby button is pressed (stood on), which can once again damage Pokemon in the way. You'll want to utilize these hazards to your advantage whenever you can, while making sure to steer clear of them yourself.
Anyone obsessed with Pokemon knows that, regrettably, some of the coolest and cuddliest monsters are unfortunately ordinarily totally useless in competitive play; this is an issue remedied within Pokemon Conquest, as quite literally any Pokemon can become beastly in combat when paired with the proper warrior. So yes, anyone who's a big fan of the adorable but ordinarily weak Jigglypuff or Minccino is in for quite a treat. In all reality, Pokemon Conquest is such a comprehensive game so jam-packed full of features, it can be quite difficult to fit into one review without rambling. There are even options to delegate specific warriors to specific kingdoms to protect territories from incoming invasions (yes, after conquering so many yourself, you'll have to prepare for counterattacks later in the game), in addition to shopping options to purchase (and create by combination) some of the best items; different warriors have differing Charisma ratings, which affect how well they can exchange with shopkeepers, and you can also feed your Pokemon `Ponigiri' (this game's Poffins, more or less) to increase their strength. The calendar system makes it so that each warrior may perform only one action per month (whether that be mining for gold, shopping for items, engaging in battle or whatever else within different kingdoms), and you may manually proceed to the next month at your leisure; this system may sound wonky on paper but it in fact allows for a unique passage of time within the game and will increase your desire to thoughtfully plan out your course of action.
I have yet to experience a video game that's completely perfect, but Pokemon Conquest's setbacks are so minor that they're only barely worth mentioning. Although its graphical limitations certainly don't prevent it from being a great game, certain sprites or animations can be particularly clunky and pixelated, which may cause nitpickers to wonder what could have been on a more powerful console. Also, moving warriors around to different kingdoms (which you'll have to do fairly often, depending on what types of Pokemon appear and who you'll have to battle inside) can be a bit of a hassle, particularly if you don't remember which warriors are which or what their type specialties are; an option to more easily shift groups around in bulk or display their compatibilities/type specialties on the main screens would have been ideal. Additionally, just like each warrior can only use one Pokemon at a time, each Pokemon can only use one attack at a time, although these attacks change when they evolve, meaning if they're a dual-type, their primary attack type can change as well. This can make things a bit unpredictable and potentially unfavorable when your Dark-based Scraggy suddenly evolves into a Scrafty with a Fighting attack (meaning that Pokemon's strategy and what it can go up against may suddenly change without notice, and you may find yourself without a Dark move to rely on).
I bring the gripes up for the sole purpose of thoroughness; make no mistake, Pokemon Conquest is a fantastic game and should absolutely be owned by every Pokemon lover, in addition to anyone who enjoys RPG/strategy/battle games. Featuring an engaging storyline, incredibly addictive gameplay, wonderful anime-style artwork and the substantial replay value offered by an impressively lengthy 1-player quest in addition to a local wireless multiplayer mode (meaning yes, once you have a decent team formed you can compete with your friends in battle), Pokemon Conquest succeeds in just about every area it can. If there were to ever be a seamless introductory game to the JRPG genre with plentiful opportunity for increased strategizing and complexity, Pokemon Conquest is it. Even if you're not a big fan of the genre, give this one a try and I can almost guarantee you'll gain a newfound love.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2013
I've been a Pokemon fan since the very beginning, having received my first copy of Pokemon Red as a present from my parents back in elementary school. Nearly 15 years and as many games later, the concepts of Pokemon have been repurposed to make a lot of different kinds of games, be it the classic RPG elements of the main Pokemon games, the dungeon crawling of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, or the wind-up toy battling of Pokemon Rumble.
Pokemon Conquest, however, is the one iteration I never expected to see release in America, primarily because of its deep roots in Japanese history and peculiar play style, which is typically more popular in Japanese markets. I even made a bet that this game would never see an English release, and I still owe someone an Ash Ketchum hat over it. Still, I'm glad I was wrong, because this game was definitely worth my time.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The gameplay: Pokemon Conquest is, appropriately, a game about conquering. You'll manage armies of Warriors and their accompanying Pokemon, as you attempt to conquer the Ransei region. Between battles, you'll move units around the map to fortify your positions, get into fights with wild Pokemon to add them to your arsenal, purchase items like potions or evolutionary stones, and carefully battle your way from from kingdom to kingdom in order to conquer the entire region.
Combat shares a lot of common ties with the main Pokemon series - you select up to six Pokemon to bring into battle with you. Each one has a 'type', which grants it strengths and weaknesses against other types, as well as an ability that can change the way it interacts with the playing field or with other Pokemon. Each Pokemon only knows a single attack, and it seems like nearly all these attack draw from existing attacks in other Pokemon games, even having identical functionality in some cases. Pokemon can also evolve if certain conditions are met, making them more powerful and often replacing their existing attack with a new, more powerful one.
There are some large differences, though. Combat takes place on large grid-based maps, each with unique features such as trap doors or pools of lava that lead to constantly-evolving strategies. Rather than two opposing Pokemon taking shots at each other one at time, all the Pokemon on a team act in tandem, so planning how two Pokemon will work together is essential to victory. Especially since each Pokemon only has a single attack, and the range/area of the attack can affect both your Pokemon and your opponent's, coordinating the different members of your team to work efficiently together can be a rewarding challenge. If you've played games like Advance Wars, Final Fantasy Tactics, or Fire Emblem, you can expect a similar experience.
The game's storytelling is split up into over 30 different episodes, each starting you off with a different warlord and giving you an objective, like 'Conquer all of Ransei' or 'Link with 100 Pokemon', and your objective is to beat all these episodes to access the game's true ending. Because you're constantly changing which characters you control, and because the link percentages of all the Pokemon reset with each episode, the traditional Pokemon concept of having 'your own team' that you've been training and leveling is out the window here. For some, this may be a turnoff, but I ultimately find that it helps make each new campaign challenging.
- The universe: As a region, Ransei is great. Each of the Warlords (main characters) in the game has their own personality, motivations, and relationships, many of them based off of the very historical figures they're named after, though sometimes in more exaggerated or fictional forms. For example, Hideyoshi, the fire warlord, is a loyal lieutenant to dragon warlord and primary protagonist Nobunaga, just as his namesake historically was. The character's costumes are also very vibrant and eye-catching - their outfits are based both on traditional Japanese garb and the Pokemon with which each character has a 'best link,' giving them a unique sense of flair.
Each of the different episodes in the game offers a brief amount of insight into each characters' motivations and personality, though admittedly if you're looking for a deep and complex story, you might want more than the game is willing to give. For the most part, the characters are all motivated by the desire to conquer Ransei, which is pretty two-dimensional, but taking into consideration that these games are largely for children, I didn't expect anything all that complex. Mostly these episodes serve to remix the gameplay and keep it fresh, and to that extent I think they succeed.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
- Lack of guidance: In the interest of full disclosure, I had stopped playing this game for a long time after I first got it, and here's why. When you start the game, you're put onto a world map with kingdoms on it, and these kingdoms have a lot of elements to them - item shops, Ponigiri stands (rice balls for Pokemon), gold mines, etc., all with the ability to be upgraded. Especially when you're doing the first episode of the game, which is pretty easy, these features seem largely unnecessary, and because they weren't well explained in-game, they only serve to confuse you when you're just starting out, so you just ignore them and move on. Eventually, thinking there wasn't much depth to the experience, I put the game down.
Then I started playing again, and discovered that these various little shops and locations actually add a fair amount of depth to the gameplay, as they help you link with more Pokemon, but if you don't sit down and actually take the time to figure them out, it's easy to undervalue them or just write them off altogether. I would've preferred that perhaps the game had 3 introductory episodes rather than just, with each slowly acclimating you to the idea that managing your kingdoms is an important part of progressing and ultimately winning the game.
- Minor balance issues: This I feel is a lesser issue with the game, but one worth bringing up because it caused me a fair amount of frustration. There's one character in particular, named Ranmaru, who is a dragon warlord and one of Nobunaga's lieutenants. This warlord, as an NPC, always starts with a Dratini, which knows the Dragon Rage attack. Much like in the main Pokemon games, Dragon Rage always does 40 damage, regardless of Dratini's level. I came to hate Ranmaru and his Dratini with a burning passion.
The reason for my frustration was that, at the very start of the game when everyone's link percentage is very low and Pokemon don't have much health to speak of, Dratini's Dragon Rage can usually obliterate your Pokemon in a single hit, making it incredibly difficult to deal with early on, doubly so because the kinds of Pokemon you usually start with aren't very effective against a Dragon-type. There's a whole series of shorter episodes that involve Ranmaru as an opponent, and I dreaded doing each one, all because of that Dratini. The frustration I experienced at the receiving end of that one attack is one of the most prominent experiences that comes to mind when I think about this game. Aside from Dragon Rage, I think most of the game is pretty fair, and because of the insane challenge I found that my victories over Ranmaru were all the more satisfying.
Pokemon Conquest is a good game. It's not a five-star game for certain - I can't imagine myself being willing to put down a 5-star game like I did with this one - but it still has a lot of merits and is worth the dozens of hours I put into it. I feel like the game could've gotten a lot more play time out of me if I'd had someone to have multiplayer battles with, but the lack of online play or other people with copies of the game made that impossible for me. Overall, any complaints I have about the game can't outweigh the overall positive experience I had, so I definitely recommend this one for Pokemon fans and turn-based tactics fans alike.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2014
I bought this for my husband.
And didn't see him for about 3 weeks.
One thing that they don't make clear: there's far more post-game stuff than main game. He thought he was done in a week, and then he disappeared for two more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Good game, a little bit repetitive and tedious but the story is good. I needed 7 words more so I wrote this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2013
I first read up on 'Pokemon: Conquest' in a gamer magazine, and the cursory glance caught my interest. When I actually ordered and received the game, I found that it still had my interest while I played it. The gameplay from the 'Nobunaga's Ambition' series of games was refreshing from the normal line-up of Pokemon games, and the plot holds up well for what the game is trying to do - it's simple, but still fairly intriguing. Of course, the gameplay does become a bit repetitive after a while and the simplistic plot may bore some players looking for the action of games like Black & White 2. However, for trying something new, 'Pokemon: Conquest' is certainly not a bad game for Pokemon fans and is worth at least a look.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2013
As stated in the title, I have not been this passionate about a Pokémon side game since Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, and while I loved Shadows of Almia mainly for its story - not to take anything away from the main story of Pokémon Conquest, it's the game play, particularly in the post-story that makes Conquest so unique and fun (if you play this game just to 'beat' it [finish main story], you're missing 99% of what this game has to offer!). With more than 30 individual Warrior stories to play after completing the main story, you can play for hundreds of hours trying to complete everything there is to do (I've already passed 400 hours, and still have more than 10 episodes to go), like finding the perfect link Pokémon partners for each and every one of the 200 warriors. And each story plays as brand new, since the link percentage (similar to a Pokémon level in most games) is reset each time, meaning you can choose to raise and evolve a different Pokémon for each warrior in your army (other than their 100% link if you like), since they stay evolved once registered in your gallery. The same goes for the Warlord leaders (and Junior Warriors), who also can "evolve" and retain their more powerful Rank 2 status each time they are recruited (just be sure, as with a newly evolved Pokémon, to take them into battle afterward [next month] so they will be registered in the gallery).
Each story, which offers random events month-by-month (defending your kingdoms, stopping thieves, Pokémon swarms, etc.) creates an almost continuous flow as well as those special events that you need to carefully plan for yourself based on the kind of story you are playing, as the Warlord Leaders only appear in a few stories (Collecting 100 Pokémon, etc), like linking with Legendary Pokémon - in most stories, you can take an much or as little time (in-game months) as you like to complete everything you have to do. And if you happen to clear a story without accomplishing a certain task, you can play it again anytime (I had to play Ieyasu's episode twice upon learning that Registeel would only appear in his story).
I remember when I first heard about this game coming out in Japan and was stunned by the gorgeous character art (I was not familiar with Nobunaga's Ambition) - seen on screen, rather than the usual sprites (something I would have loved in Pokémon Ranger!) - and even more so, the Pokémon-specific design of the Warlords' costumes just for this game, which also carries over to the standard warriors' Pokéball-detailed costumes, and the new and unique Pokémon art; more than just a perfect marriage of Pokémon that I already love and Nobunaga's Ambition, but so much of the Japanese culture (character names, costumes, etc) is left intact in the English version (which I was thrilled to find out we were getting!!), slowly closing a very wide gap that's been present between Pokémon in Japan and Pokémon in the U.S. for so long (credit also goes to the Black & White games which include trivia that reveals Japanese Pokémon names, and to the TPCi's animé dub with far fewer culture-based [and other] edits than the earlier 4Kids dub). And though there is very little dialog, the warlord characters have become just as real as in any other game throughout the many episodes (though he has a very different personality, Hanbei, whose perfect link is a Pikachu, looks remarkably like Ash!), and to me, will always be Pokémon characters (I would have loved to have seen Pokémon Conquest as an animé special or miniseries or even an intro, like other recent Pokémon games). And of course, as in all Pokémon games, there is the all-important message of treating and raising Pokémon as partners - not tools - which was lost when the kingdoms of Ransei went to war in the main story, but regained and reinforced in the end.
It has enormous potential for a sequel and I'd love to see additions like Pokémon having up to their usual four moves (instead of just one) which would make the battles more challenging, and a facility that allows you to change a warrior's skill, like you can change a Pokémon's ability (Mysterious Spring) - for example, Eagle Eye (improves accuracy) combined with the not-always-accurate Dragon Rage would greatly help early in a story, whereas Mighty Blow (increases attack power) does nothing for a move that deals 40 damage no matter what if your Axew or Dratini hasn't get evolved and learned a different move. And of course, the more Pokémon that are added, the better!
Getting back to the game itself, the only HUGE drawback is that there is NO OFFICIAL GUIDE BOOK for the U.S./English-language version. I had to rely heavily on Pokémon fan sites (which are not always accurate) for such information as Perfect links, Pokémon and warrior evolution conditions, and conditions in which Legendary Pokémon appear (as with Registeel, mentioned above). I felt the same need to complete everything in the post story of Pokémon HeartGold, but it was so simple I rarely needed to look up anything (except Gym Leader rematch times and the Shiny Leaf), however for Pokémon Platinum's post game, a guide was essential - the same is true for Pokémon Conquest, not only to complete it, but to get the full enjoyment out of it. Also, we didn't get Nobunaga's black (shiny) Raquayza (Wifi event) for our Black & White games like they did in Japan.
But taking nothing away from the game itself, it's worth the extra time and effort do the research and complete (still enjoying every minute and will miss it so much when I finally do - X and Y will be out by then I hope!), making Pokémon Conquest not only my favorite Gen V game, but one of my favorite Pokémon games, main series or side, of all time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2013
Pokemon and Samurai Warriors have finally come together in this game.
Starting as a warlord (the male warlord looks like Nagamasa mind you and it makes sense in historical content), you start in the normal nation Aurora and meet Oichi who teaches you the basics of battle and conquering kingdoms. From there, you build an army to conquer Ransei and defeat Nobunaga.
It's a simple plot but you get more out of it if you understand the historical references such as Nobunaga and Oichi being siblings. The game tries so hard to hide it despite that being a common fact in other feudal Japan games like Sengoku Basara and Samurai Warriors.
The gameplay is much deeper though or I would think so. You can only bring one Pokemon per character and one item to use and only use your special ability once. You have a certain amount of turns to conquer the nations. Navigating through the stages special terrains like electric and steel will prove difficult unless you know what you're doing. The key to winning is knowing your opponent. The computer AI is one of the smartest I have ever seen. In the main game at the very least, they use the stage to their advantage to stall and defeat you (this makes Hidyoshi's battle at the beginning difficult given he can have his Chimchar walk on lava and attack from a distance). You only get HP, attack, defense and speed stat meaning that the Eevee you choose can be very useful. That's right people, Flareon is useful in this game! Fire Pokemon in general are uber in this game given they get the longest attack ranges, best abilities by certain warlords and so on.
Now comes post game. It's not as bad as people make it out to be. You keep your Pokemon and some items from the main game and continue playing different arcs of the other warlords. Now this is basically padding but it also gives you some insight on their character and can give you historical facts if you look. The main character is not playable until you beat everyone's story minus the downloadable episodes. This actually isn't true though. In some stories like Motonari and Kanbei, the main character is recruitable only its very difficult given you're so badass that its hard to recruit you. S/he may not be under your control, but it's still satisfying to play your character temporary and kick ass.
And the levels start back at 5/10 percent and you have to work up. This way, you are not attached to a specific team and try it out with other characters. Believe me, everyone would use Yukimura and his 100 link Charizard if they had the choice, but because he's not available all the times, you can't get too attached to him. In fact, it's usually easy to have Ranmaru and Okuni in your team in almost all post game so make sure they get Lucario and Volcarona.
One more warning. The star difficulty LIES to you! Kiyomasa and Masanori are not 1 difficulty! They are around 4/5! You cannot tell me that because Mitsunari has a Scizor and they have Pokemon that can't even harm Scizor that it's one difficulty and with Mitsunari conquering all the kingdoms with relative ease and you can't even promote them in their chapter because its not only short but because the Pokemon they link with isn't in those chapters making the pain and suffering not worth it. D: